You may be growing larger by the day, but it’s still vitally important to exercise and keep moving. Not only does this help prepare you for labor and motherhood, but it provides a time to de-stress and enjoy some nature.*
If you exercised a lot before pregnancy, you may feel a need to cut back a little, and that’s OK. My midwife recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day, whether it was walking, doing yoga, or swimming. She said if I got tired or sore to break the activity up into shorter spurts throughout the day. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you’re feeling restless, do a little more. If you feel pain or exhaustion, cut back.
Movement also helps with blood sugar concerns. Sometimes expecting moms are surprised by high blood sugar levels at their six-month gestational diabetes test. Moms that already had issues before pregnancy should place exercise on high-priority.
The GD screening is somewhat controversial and not all medical authorities agree it’s wise or necessary for a young mother with no prior blood sugar issues or no risk factors to be tested. If you do have risk factors, you’ll be asked to drink a syrup and your blood will be drawn an hour later. A reading of 130-140 mg/dL is considered normal by many. If it’s too high, you’ll be asked to fast overnight and drink another solution. Your blood will then be drawn once over the next three hours. If you’re diagnosed with GD, you’ll have to monitor your blood sugar closely and go to the doctor for checkups more often. Your blood sugar will be monitored after birth, too, just to assure that everything has returned to normal.
What Causes GD?
The placenta is the organ that supports your developing baby. This organ produces strong hormones. Many experts believe these special hormones block insulin receptors, making it difficult for the expectant mother to convert sugar to energy. Too much sugar in the blood leads to hyperglycemia, which can be harmful to the baby (and the mother).
Why is GD Bad?
Because the mother isn’t breaking down glucose, the baby’s pancreas has to work harder to produce more insulin to break down the glucose entering his or her bloodstream. Additionally, the baby stores a lot of fat because of the extra sugar. This is called “macrosomia” or “fat baby.” Larger babies shoulders may be damaged and have low blood sugar at birth. Unfortunately, macrosomia also places a baby at higher risk of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
As previously mentioned, an active lifestyle can help prevent GD. Add good nutrition to the program before and during pregnancy. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a great place to start. Make it even healthier by selecting organic, if possible. If you’re overweight before pregnancy, try reaching your ideal BMI before conception. These strategies should help prevent any surprises in yoursixth month of pregnancy.